When I was 14 or 15 years old my mother caught me with pornography. It happens. Because of my LDS upbringing I was terrified and I thought my life was over. I expected my dad to come home and beat me till my bones broke everyday for the rest of my life. Most indiscretions were met with a lot of harshness in our household. So you can imagine how terrified I was when I found out my mom had gone and arranged a meeting for me and the bishop that weekend.
So, I sat down with the bishop and cried my eyes out in guilt and shame and aside from asking the bizzare detailed questions of “What kind of porn? What were they doing to each other?” etc, he was very kind, thoughtful and uplifting. (Given that I’d been told my whole life that a bishop was there to help, I never considered him asking these questions to be inappropriate until much later in life) I left our meeting feeling better then when I had come in.
Well, two weeks go by and I look at porn again. Now, before I go any further I want to reiterate something; This bishop, told me if it happens again to come see him and the two of us would work it out together.
So, I go to to him again, tell him the situation, and all I see in his eyes is disgust and fury. His words to me were as follows.
“How dare you. How dare you waste the Lords time, you selfish little boy. Did you listen to anything I said the last time you were here? Do you think you can just come in here every two weeks and Heavenly Father is going to just forgive you? If you were really sorry, you wouldn’t have done it again! You think this kind of behavior is okay? You think you’ll have the discipline to be a good employee or husband? You think a girl wants to have children with someone who’s disgraces himself and disrespects her by looking at porn? Answer me!”
I stuttered out a no and begged for his help. I have no idea how long I was there, but the whole time I was with this bishop, I was screamed at and bullied and shamed as if I’d just been found guilty of rape. He acted like he was my own father. He acted like I owed him something because of some title given to him by men in the same neighborhood he happened to grow up with.
The part that I remember the most was the following: The bishop looked me dead in the eye and said, “Brother Coleman, the next time you get those urges, you take your penis out, place it on the kitchen table, and you hit the tip of it as hard as you can with a ball peen hammer.”
Now, I laughed at this and thought he was joking to break the tension. There was no joke, no smile. He was dead serious. I never went to a bishop for help again. This was one of the most scaring and horrible experiences of my childhood. This and many other experiences like it, helped turn me into a cowardly man child, taught to only obey and have only someone with “authority” make big decisions in my life for me. I finally got out of the church at 28. I’m 32 now and still picking up the pieces. I hope my story has helped you in some way big or small.